If an adoptee from Indiana’s closed records era wants to find their birth parents, they must go through what’s called a confidential intermediary.
Supporters of proposed legislation to open the records say that process is difficult, lengthy and costly.
Marcie Keithley-Roth gave up her daughter for adoption in 1978. She says making the records open doesn’t just help adoptees – it helps birth parents too.
“Our right to reconsider, the right to heal – not every mother will want it," she says. "But they should have the opportunity to say so instead of being legally relegated to the shadows.”
The bill would give birth parents one year to sign a nondisclosure form that bars the state from sharing their information with their child.
Pence administration official Lindsey Craig says the governor has some concerns.
“We believe that the state did make a promise to birth mothers – that it would protect their identity – and this bill kind of changes the rules in the middle of the game,” Craig says.
Craig says it will be difficult to contact birth parents and inform them of the change, especially in such a short time. House committee members say they want to work with the administration on its concerns before advancing the bill.